Terms of Surrender

Terms of Surrender January 30, 2018

“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt 19:16)


Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Here are some things to consider as you meditate on this scripture: 

First, notice that the Rich Young Ruler’s question to Jesus was “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (v.16)

In response to that question, Jesus says, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor and then come and follow me.” (v.21)

Throughout the Gospels, several other people come to Jesus and ask him this exact same question.

Guess what? Jesus never gives the same answer to anyone twice.


I think it’s because Jesus is able to look into the hearts of those who are asking and he can see what is holding them back from submitting themselves to him as their King, and therefore what needs to change in order for them to enter the Kingdom of God.

For Nicodemus, a wise and well-respected Pharisee, the terms of surrender were to become like a baby again and start over from the beginning with a new birth. 

For the Rich Young Ruler, it was letting go of his wealth.

For Peter, it was walking away from the biggest catch of fish he had ever had in his entire life.

For Matthew, it was quitting his job as a tax collector on the spot to follow Jesus.

For Zaccheus, it was giving half of his possessions to the poor and paying back four times the money he had extorted as a tax collector.

For the Thief on the Cross, it was simply recognizing that Jesus was a King who would soon be coming into His Kingdom.

In every case, the terms of surrender were unique to the individual. 

So, what is it that’s holding you back from following Jesus with your actual life today?

If it’s your great wealth or your love of money, then maybe that’s what Jesus would ask you to surrender to Him.

If it’s your intellect and your position of respect and authority in the community, maybe it’s complete humility and the willingness to become simple and foolish in the eyes of men in order to identify yourself as a follower of Jesus.

If it’s your job, then maybe you should walk away from it like Peter and Matthew did to follow Him.

For some people, it’s forgiving someone who hurt us. For still others, it’s turning the other cheek and loving our enemy.

For each of us, there is probably that one thing that we would find difficult to surrender to Jesus in order to enter the Kingdom. 

What, if anything, is keeping you from seeing the Kingdom or following Jesus today?

Honestly, that’s all that we really need to ask ourselves.

If you’re brave, please share with me in the comments below the “one thing” that, for you, is the hardest thing to trust Jesus with.

Letting go of what we have in this world is easy when we understand that Jesus doesn’t want to deprive us of anything. He really only wants to give us Himself and His Kingdom, which is worth so much more than anything in this life. Once we understand that, we should be eager to let go of anything that takes His place in our lives or anything that prevents us from fully knowing Jesus as He really is.

The really, really good news? Jesus promises that whatever we surrender in this life will be restored to us a hundredfold. So, really, there’s no risk at all. Talk about a money-back guarantee!

Now, what the terms of your surrender?


Keith Giles is the author of “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” and co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He lives in Orange, CA with his wife and two sons and is part of a house church where 100% of the offerings are given away to help the poor in the community.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Hillary Goode

    For me, the hardest thing to give up is wanting to know for certain that Jesus is God and that God exists. Once I knew that, I feel I could follow freely. My surrender would be to accept faith vs having knowledge of God’s existence. When you say it’s a money back guarantee and no risk at all, I see ultimate risk of putting my faith into something that is not true.

  • MEB

    I want to make something as clear as I can. There have been several times in my life when I have had a question for God, and being so frustrated with the issue in question, I would scream to the sky, shake my fist and say, “ANSWER ME, blankety blank blank!!!!” And I always got a perfect answer. One of those questions was, “SHOW ME YOU EXIST, YOU so & so !!!” And I’ll tell you, I was SHOWN! No, there was no vision or lightening striking. But within minutes, there were some things that took place (which had meaning to me, and nobody else) that absolutely convinced me that God exists, without any doubt at all what so ever. I think that what really happened was that my anger and fury at God caused me to pay attention and FOCUS on what He had to say to me–which He may have been saying all the time, but I was normally too distracted to pay any attention, as we all are most of the time. I don’t think you necessarily have to get mad and swear at God as I did at the time. But ASK! DEMAND if you must! Then LISTEN. FOCUS. LISTEN. It is absolutely amazing how God will come through if you demand and then listen. At least that has been my experience.

  • MEB

    I want to add one more comment, a bit off track again, sorry. Some might say, “Well, all he was really doing was to focus in on his own subconscious—there was no ‘god’ involved.” And I would respond that, yes, that may be true, and you can make that case. And that’s O.K. However, WHAT CONVINCES ME IS VALID TO ME. It so happens that whatever it is, I KNOW IT, because I know it within the marrow of my bones. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks. That doesn’t mean that anyone else has to believe it, nor would have any reason to. I struggled with the concepts of logical positivism for years. Then I realized that such ideas and people were acting as thought police. If I am convinced beyond any shadow of doubt, if I KNOW God has spoken to me, than what does it matter what Hitchens, Dawkins or anyone else thinks? I KNOW IT. And that is valid for me, even if for no one else. And yes, I know such subjectivity could be dangerous with monsters like Hitler or bin Laden. Which is why one must have absolute integrity when dealing with spiritual issues. (And yes, as I said before, I still have to struggle with internal issues of surrender like everyone else. But I have to do the best I can and give it over the best I can. Sometimes I am better at this than at other times.)